Material culture and ecclesiastical diplomacy. The relations and the exchange of presents between the bishop-count of Coimbra D.Alphonso de Castelo Branco and the papal court (1590-1615)

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In this article I address the topics of material culture and Portuguese ecclesiastical diplomacy by analysing the case study of Afonso de Castelo Branco, bishop-count of Coimbra. The bishop's correspondence kept in Archivio Segreto Vaticano made possible not only to ascertain who were his agents and contacts in Rome and the recipients of his diplomatic gifts, but also to identify the goods he selected for popes and cardinals bezoar stones, beads of calambuco, porcelains and amber gloves. Finally, I take into consideration Afonso Castelo Branco's means of consumption and diplomatic strategies assessing the purpose of his investment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-207
Number of pages25
JournalRevista de História da Sociedade e da Cultura
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Diplomatic gifts
  • Consumption
  • Goods from Portuguese India trade route
  • Amber gloves
  • Habsburg Portugal

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